Norwegian EPIC, 11/27/10 Last Day At Sea

Last Day at Sea

I totally overslept. Not only tired, but they took back that hour we got Sunday. Pretty much, up, hit the coffee, type for a minute and head to Trivia...coulda skipped it. The mighty have been brought low...the old women got us again...not fair having to answer late 19th century questions against people who were there. Just sayin'

From trivia at Bliss to the O'sheehan's for my last English Breakfast. Still good. Final Bingo session was next. Had to show up for the free cruise raffle. Not playing. So far this has not been a good gambling week. However, I did win the Cruise, and then the Slot tournament. Okay, PSYCH!!! That was just an exercise in creating my own reality. But I did sit next to a nice couple and compared notes on our week. And got sucked in to playing the final blackout game. Hey, it was only $5. And Aisha and Hannah both asked me to. I probably could have resisted either one, but not both. Not only didn't win the cruise, I didn't win the bingo game either. After bingo I went to see how my score was holding up on the Slot Tournament. I was in 3rd place to start the day (it's a week long qualifier). As I watched, I slipped further and further down the leaderboard. I almost succumbed to Casino Hostess Sharon's urgings to get in again, just in case...but I didn't...and then, on the LAST spin, of the LAST qualifier, I got bumped off the board. I mean, really? Behind by 400 points with FOUR SECONDS left, this lady decides to hit one for a 1000 points and eliminate me? Oh, well.

Lunch time. Hit the buffet for some pretty good lamb curry and veal patties. Headed down to the room to do a little pre-packing, until Blackjack tournament time. This too is a week long qualifier. I played it smart and waited til towards the end. When I got there $5000 was the bottom of the board and the leader had a little over 12,000. In six brilliantly played hands I was at 10,700. The guy next to me had 11,000. I had to bet before him, so I did the only thing I could do, and went all in. He did the same. I had two face cards against the dealer's 8. Guy next to me get's dealt a 16 and has to hit. He busted. I am at the top of the board. So they started the final a half hour later, and I get to pick my seat, which is always nice. First hand the Dealer gets 21. second hand the dealer get's 21. Third hand the dealer has an 8 and I have a pair of sevens. I had no choice but to split them and pray. My third card was a 7 as well...and I had only one $100 chip left, so I had to hit 14 and bust. then I got a 4 on the other hand, and felt pretty good when I pulled a 9. Then the dealer hits to 21 AGAIN! So, now, 3 hands in and I have $100 left. Things picked up, and I did manage, thru some lucky double-downs to build it back to $1200, and actually finished in third place. Given how the first three went, I felt prety good about it. However the difference between 1st and 3rd is like the difference between $500 cash, and a new T-Shirt.

Back to the cabin to drop off the shirt. Decided I would really like to see Blue Man Group one more time before I had to leave. Called Rashida and had her hook me up with seat for that, and reservations at Moderno, the Churrascaria. Blue Man was excellent, of course. I did see that, while the basic show is the same, there is some variation from performance to performance. They do ad-lib some of it. So, going twice in a week isn't a bad idea, necessarily. AFter the show I headed to Moderno. They were wonderful over there. The hostess, when I got there, told me she could seat me right away, or, if I wanted to wait a few minutes, she would get me a better table. I wasn't starving so I decided to wait. She seated me right at the window, overlooking the stage in the Manhattan Room below. That was kind of nice, compared to being out in the middle of the room. Just as I was perusing the complimentary wine menu, one of the couples in the NCLU group with me walked in, with three other people they had met on the cruise. I decided to order a bottle of wine, and they asked me to join them at their table. Deciding good company was better than a "good table", I moved over. Good call. The others were a couple, and his sister. Turns out the wife works for NCL, in Operations. Of course, she doesn't know anyone I know at NCL, and vice-versa, but it made for good conversation.

Hmmm...now I really digress. Moderno was as good as I remembered. All of the meats were just perfect. The garlic beef was especially memorable. If I could have I would have gotten a doggie bag for some of that! The filet was also "cut it with a fork" tender, and the ribs were brilliantly seasoned, awesome with a little chimichurri, and also falling off the bone. So the conversation turned to moans, sighs, and oohing and ahhing for a while. I finally had to pull myself away, lest I be late for the Cruise Director's big show: Paul Skally Does His Best To Be Funny, or something. No, seriously, just giving him a hard time. He was pretty good. And he really is one of the better cruise director's out there. A real nice guy, he spends a lot of time out and about the ship, talking to passengers, buying drinks in the club, etc. He has the kind of personal touch that leaves people felling good about the whole cruise. I have been on cruises where the CD is mostly just an annoying voice over the PA, and the ocassional talk from the stage, where they don't run any chance of passenger contact. I much prefer this style.

I won't bore you with, nor do I remember in any detail, the last couple hours of the evening, as I made my way around the ship, trying to find passengers and crew to tell them "thanks" and "good-bye". I found an incredible number of them. Took me til 1am. of course, bags were supposed to be out in the hall by 1am. Just made it. In fact, they were coming down the hall when I set my bag out. Then I committed a rookie mistake that is inexcusable in a veteran cruiser like myself...as I set down the bag, I lifted my back foot and let the door close, locking myself out. So, my final official act was going down to Guest Services for a new key. After that, I ended the night in the Casino. One of my fellow TA's, who I had run into all week, was down on a particular bank of penny slots she had told me about, and we sat there til 4am playing, until they finally kicked us out, as we were, basically, back in Miami.

I should have Debarking Day's post done in a couple hours...stand by please!